Sunday, October 24, 2010

Songs from the Road

Greetings, all. I am happy to report that i have returned, safe and happy (albeit missing a couple of teeth), from my pilgrimage to Zion National Park, outside of Springdale, UT, pictured at left, and YES, it actually does look like that! Very ruminative and reflective, staring out the window at primordial views, daydreaming Stegosaurus stomping 'cross mesas, drilled down in my headphones; thinking, planning, remembering.
I made a special point to take a copy of J Spaceman's Guitar Loops. Released in 2005, i procured a copy from the much lamented Oink!, and was loaded on my very first iPod, received in the mail 2 hours before i fucked off and abandoned my life, heading off to Northern California to embrace uncertainty and live as a nomadic hippie. I was a bonafide noisenik then, falling down the dark craggy crevices of psych-folk, power-noise, blissed-out shoegaze. This stuff had recently become much more accessible, and all the names i had seen in print danced to life between my ears, really truly a dream come true.
I first heard Guitar Loops careening through Colorado on an amtrak, shell-shocked, staring out the window, silent and heart-broken, soul-sick and looking for some answers. I was going to the ocean. I was trying to start over.
4 years down the line, and in some ways, i am much less broken, much more optimistic, but in other ways i am still very much fucked up, full of self-doubt. Remembering the shattered shell i was when last i heard this record provided some contrast, and set me on fire to continue to spread my wings, and surpass my dark past.
Guitar Loops is 35 minutes of guitar noise, recorded in one take in 2005. Impressive in the scope of sounds Mr Pearce can draw from the six-string beast, the closest resemblance i can find is of gamelan music, a majority of the disc dedicated to springy tintinnabulation, eventually giving way to motorik drones, great mechanical beasts dancing. Powerful tones that massage yr synapses, fuzzy warm and human. Bursts of glitch switch things up, keep things moving, not static, always keeps you on yr toes. The best thing i can say for this disc is i truly don't know how he manages to get these sounds from a guitar. Its a mystery. In a day and age when it seems like you've seen it all, done it all, along comes a master manipulator of sound, to show you you haven't seen ANYTHING YET. Highly recommended.
But the ultimate winner for this trip was the self-titled from The Donkeys, a band from San Diego that plays a sprawling mixture of country-rock, doomed folk, and straight-up indie rock. Faded and comfortable as worn denim, this band seems to embody the wide-open possibilities of desert landscape, while also getting at its dark underbelly. Alternately reminiscent of the ghost of Gram Parsons, singing down a telephone-line, classic Rolling Stones (Come on Virginia), Matt Elliot (Paisley Patterns), and classic guitar indie-rock like Pavement, old, good Death Cab for Cutie, or early My Morning Jacket (Lower The Heavens). Melting-pot Americana that beautifully illustrates the amazing contradictions but underlying cohesiveness of this country and its music, and makes it fulfilling for a number of moods. You can listen to this album over and over, and find new and thrilling revelations every time. I tend to skip over my record collection like a smooth stone over a still pond, and i've been listening to this album over and over, totally loving it. That's the highest possible recommendation i can give.

I've been having a great time writing reviews and getting this site running again, so please let me know what you think, leave requests, make comments, and continue to spread amazing music. Y'all rule!

Guitar Loops

The Donkeys

1 comment:

  1. inspiring review. just grabbed guitar loops and looking forward to immersion.